Wednesday, 3 October 2012

After a weekend of fun and excitement, learning new sword fighting techniques and the occurrence of injury (not mine and not serious thankfully, though I did have to drive an unfamiliar car on a four hour journey home), I'm finding myself still quite shattered. This has meant that I've made very little project progress, but on the other hand, I've done plenty of research.

The picture on the right is Paolo Caliari's 1560 Portrait of a Woman and was my primary inspiration for my SCA court gown. Well, it start out as inspiration, but somewhere along the way I felt myself drawn to wanting to recreate it. Details like the sleeve cutwork and the necklace and brooch I've already completed, but I still have to teach myself bobbin lace and improve my reticella needle lace to make the cuffs and camica trim.

I plan to submit the gown as a whole as an A&S entry towards the end of November. That will involve completing a few more details and just one more piece - the partlet. It can be hard to see in this portrait, being almost sheer and with the lines of pearls covering the edges, but enlarging the image shows a simple embroidery pattern of stem stitch lines and stitched holes. I've selected some off white chiffon from my stash and have the pattern pieced out in my mind, so now I'll just have to find time to start it.

In longer term research, I've started looking into soap making in the pre 17th century. The first step in this is going to involve making my own lye, and for that I'll need hardwood, preferably apple wood. I've contacted a local fruit supplier to see if I can tickle their interest enough into supplying my needs, but if that fails, a friend has offered to let me ransack his wood stack. One way or the other, this project has a green light.

And in a last minute find of chance, I came across this beauty on the fabulous Anéa Costumes website. When trying to decide on garb for fencing tournaments, I decided on a plain style of Venetian trousers, but I was lost for a doublet idea until I came across a line drawing of a leather jerkin from the late 16th century in Florence in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion v3. Line drawing are all well and good, but seeing the extant examples really adds flesh to the bones. And this picture is the jerkin! I'm delighted to have come across this (even while kicking myself that I didn't think to check Anéa's site sooner).

I had some beautiful fabric put aside for this project, but on seeing this example I'm wondering if I shouldn't make it of leather instead? Or maybe I should make two, one for the fighting, and one for looking fine when entering and leaving the field.

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